News Information Bureau | 9th August 2020

Three States rank high in the conservation of the endangered dhole

Karnataka, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh rank high in the conservation of the endangered Dhole in India, according to a new study.

  • This study was conducted by scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society-India, the University of Florida, the Wildlife Conservation Trust, and the National Centre for Biological Sciences.
  • In this study, the scientists explored the conservation tenets of retention, recovery and restoration of dholes in India.
  • Karnataka, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh were found to be adequately equipped for consolidating forest habitats and recovering populations of Dhole by increasing prey density and reducing the pressure on forests.
  • Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Telangana and Goa are suggested to increase financial investments in the forest and wildlife sectors, and reduce the ease of granting forest clearances for infrastructure projects.
  • Improving habitat conditions and prey densities in the Eastern Ghats of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Odisha would strengthen the link between dhole populations in the Western Ghats and central India.

Dhole

  • About: Dhole (Cuon alpinus) is a wild carnivorous animal belonging to the canine family, found in Central, South, East Asia, and Southeast Asia.
    • They are also known as Asian wild dogs.
  • Ecological role: Dholes play an important role as apex predators in forest ecosystems.
  • Conservation Status: It is under the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s ‘endangered’ category.
    • The species is protected under Schedule 2 of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and under Appendix 2 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
    • In India, the first conservation breeding centre for dhole was built at the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park (IGZP) in 2014.
  • Threats:
    • Ongoing habitat loss: Due to deforestation and fragmentation of forest corridors.
    • Depletion of prey base: Ungulates are main prey of dholes whose population is rapidly decreasing due to excessive hunting and habitat loss.
    • Persecution due to livestock predation and disease transfer from domestic and feral dogs.

 

Monsoon 12 Per Cent Surplus So Far, Says IMD.

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD) rainfall in the “second half of the monsoon” is likely to be 104% of the Long Period Average (LPA).

  • This falls within the “normal” range of rainfall.
  • Long Period Average (LPA): It is the average rainfall recorded during the months from June to September, calculated during the 50-year period, and is kept as a benchmark while forecasting the quantitative rainfall for the monsoon season every year.
    • IMD maintains an independent LPA for every homogeneous region of the country, which ranges from 71.6 cm to 143.83 cm.
  • IMD maintains five rainfall distribution categories on an all-India scale. These are:
    • Normal or Near Normal: When per cent departure of actual rainfall is +/-10% of LPA, that is, between 96-104% of LPA.
    • Below Normal: When departure of actual rainfall is less than 10% of LPA, that is 90-96% of LPA.
    • Above Normal: When actual rainfall is 104-110% of LPA.
    • Deficient: When departure of actual rainfall is less than 90% of LPA.
    • Excess: When departure of actual rainfall is more than 110% of LPA.
  • This year increased rainfall is attributed to the commencement of La Nina like conditions by the second half of the monsoon season.
    • La Nina is a climate pattern that describes periods of below-average sea surface temperatures across the east-central Equatorial Pacific.
    • La Nina is considered to be the counterpart to El Nino, and its impacts tend to be opposite those of El Niño.
    • Together, they form the “cold” (La Nina) and “warm” (El Nino) phases of the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

India Meteorological Department

  • IMD was established in 1875.
  • It is an agency of the Ministry of Earth Sciences of the Government of India.
  • It is the principal agency responsible for meteorological observations, weather forecasting and seismology

 

Scientists discover volcanoes on Venus are still active

According to a recent study, published in Nature Geoscience, Venus is still geologically active.

  • The study identified 37 active volcanoes, in the form of ring-like structures known as coronae, on the surface of Venus.
    • The coronae form when plumes of hot material deep inside the planet rise through the mantle layer and crust.
  • Earlier, it was believed that the surface of Venus had no geological activity. However, scientists have known for some time that Venus has a younger surface than planets like Mars and Mercury, which have cold interiors.
  • The new study will help to identify target areas for future missions such as Europe’s EnVision that is scheduled to launch in 2032.
    • EnVision aims at determining the level and nature of the geological activity and the sequence of events that generated the surface features of Venus.

Venus

  • It is the second closest planet to the sun and the sixth-largest planet in the solar system. It is also known as earth’s twin.
  • It is the hottest planet in the solar system and its extreme temperatures (450o C) and acidic clouds make it an unlikely place for life.
  • Along with Uranus it spins backwards with respect to other planets i.e. Its sun rises in the west and sets in the east.
  • Along with Mercury it has no moons and no rings.

 

China-backed attempt by Pak to raise Kashmir issue at UNSC fails yet again: Indian diplomat

Recently, China has called India’s move in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) “illegal and invalid” and raised the issue at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in New York (USA).

  • On 5th August 2019, the President of India promulgated the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 2019 effectively abrogating the special status accorded to J&K under the provision of Article 370.
  • 5th August 2020 marks the one year anniversary of that move. On its eve, Pakistan released a new political map that includes all of J&K, Ladakh, Sir Creek and Junagadh.
  • China’s Stand on Kashmir:
    • The Kashmir issue is a dispute left over from history between Pakistan and India, which is an objective fact established by the UN Charter, relevant Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements between Pakistan and India.
    • Any unilateral change to the status quo in the Kashmir region is illegal and invalid.
    • Kashmir region issue should be properly and peacefully resolved through dialogue and consultation between the parties concerned.
  • India’s Reaction:
    • India has noted the Chinese comments and held that Beijing has “no locus standi” on the matter and is advised not to comment on the internal affairs of other nations.
      • India and China are holding talks over the disengagement along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
  • UN’s Response:
    • The J&K issue has been raised at the UNSC three times in the last one year but there has been no concrete solution to it yet.
    • UN human rights experts have called on India to take urgent action to address the alarming human rights situation in the region.
    • If India fails to take any genuine and immediate steps to resolve the situation, meet the obligations to investigate historic and recent cases of human rights violations and prevent future violations, then the international community should step up.
  • Amnesty International India Report:
    • Amnesty International in its report has urged the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the National Commission for Women (NCW) to set up offices in J&K to facilitate easy access to the complaint filing process for the local people.
      • NHRC has been asked to appoint a special monitor for the region and to take up cases pending with the erstwhile State Commission.
      • NCW has been recommended to set up a J&K cell for addressing problems faced by women.
      • The report held that people in J&K do not have any way of redressal of the violations of their rights after the closure of the State Commission in 2019.
    • It also called on the government to release all political leaders, journalists and activists from detention; restore 4G mobile Internet; decongest prisons and start an independent investigation into attacks on journalists.
    • The report acknowledged that there may be security concerns that merit restrictions on the right to freedom of expression.
    • It suggested that curbs should be for a limited timeframe and as per the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which India is a state party.

Amnesty International

  • It is an international Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) founded in London on 28th May 1961.
  • It seeks to publicise violations by governments and other entities of rights recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), especially freedom of speech and of conscience and the right against torture.
  • It also works with intergovernmental human rights bodies to expand and enforce human rights protections in international law.
  • In 1977, it was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace.
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